Hi friend. Sorry, but I am not interested. And I won't ever be. I don't want to hear about your idea. Please don't try to tell me about it. You probably think that it's amazing and I'm acting like a dick, but I don't want to know about it. Your idea alone is worthless, what you are looking for is execution. If you need a developer to execute your idea, hire one. I don't mix friendship and business, so I'm out of the question.
Even though I wrote it, the last paragraph strikes me as callous and rude. How can you say things like that? Especially to someone you consider a friend?
Here's the truth. I am sick and tired of hearing about ideas. I've been doing programming for 15 years now, which means I've been hearing about the Next Big Thing over and over again. If I had billed for all the hours I spent listening to partnership proposals of various share distribution, I'd made much more money than I did.
When I was a young kid who just started programming, I never turned down an offer to chat. So I sat and listened to all sorts of ideas that people seemed to believe in. I don't know whether it's the result of hindsight being 20/20 or me getting older and more experienced, but now it seems all these people were more confident in their ability to persuade someone to work for free, than they were confident in the success of their idea. People will vote with their money if your idea is good enough. Being an entrepreneur means taking a risk because you believe in your idea. Nothing says "I believe" more than putting money on the table, if you ask me. None of these people were willing to vote with their money or even put some on the table. They tried out different techniques instead - promising equity, exposure and grand new opportunities that would arise out of the sheer success of their idea. Execution was on me however.
I remember being offered an equity ranging from 10 to 50 per-cent. Sometimes I asked what would the rest enthrall or amount to? Would they do half of the work? What would these people put in? These outrageous questions of mine were quickly quenched down with a healthy dose of grandeur - I came up with the idea, therefore I get the most equity in our partnership!
Imagine being in the same situation over and over again. Asking The Question as soon as it was deemed polite and often not. Do you have the money? Only to be turned down with promises of riches beyond my wildest imagination, only if I were to follow the leader and their vision. Just put all your faith in me, work for free and then I will make you rich. Pinky promise. You grew tired of it and I sure did.
If me and you are friends, let's keep it that way. Let's throw a barbecue party and have couple of beers over smalltalk. You know - do what humans do. But please don't message me asking if I want to meet up to talk about something... Oh the dreadful ellipsis. That's a mood killer right there. Do the decent thing and don't try to offer something to me. Most probably your idea isn't nearly as good as you think it is. I'm not snarky, I've been in the business longer than you. I've been paid to execute the dumbest of ideas imaginable and I gladly did because there was money on the table. It was a business transaction where one party walked away more experienced about what doing online business is like, and the other party walked away with some money!
Now you're my friend and you decide to pop the question. "Listen, I've had this idea for a while and it could strike big, but...". No, no, no. Let me stop you right there. I don't want to validate it. I don't even want to be part of it! Best of all - I don't ever hear about it. Knowing something is a burden and I've already got a lot of tech stuff to worry about at my job and my side projects.
The great "but you know how to code" fallacy. Yes, I know how to code. I'm pretty good at it. But if knowing how to write code was all it took to execute an idea and earn a couple of million dollars, I'd have done it already. Many times over you know. Besides - I believe that everyone can learn to code. If you really think that your idea is worth something and it only requires some coding skills to make it happen - learn to code! Not only coding is fun, but it's also a great career path if your idea were to fail and not earn you millions and millions of dollars overnight 😉 .
Please, be a decent friend and don't try to persuade your coder friends to work for free. If you truly believe in your idea, be willing to work hard for it. Most great ideas that are born while showering lose their appeal after giving it a critical second look. If yours didn't, launch a startup. It's okay to approach your programmer friends as first hires at your new start-up, but asking someone to do work for free, because of friendship, is the truly callous thing to do. Pay developers a salary, offer equity that is worth something today, not at an unidentifiable point in the future, be willing to put in the same effort as you require from us.